How Others Pray

According to Scripture, prayer is a place of comfort and safety in the presence of God.  We're assured we can enter His throne room secure and at ease, even if in awe.  In prayer we experience real-time, personal connection with our Savior and He  promises us that He hears and responds.

But not everyone experiences prayer in the same way.  Much of the difference is shaped by one's view of God--the one receiving our prayers.  To understand the different views of prayer--and there are many--will help you be sensitive and patient with the journey it often takes for others to talk to God "as to a friend."

 

WHEN GOD, MY SAVIOR, PERSONAL, APPROACHABLE AND RESPONSIVE

 

 

WHEN GOD IS IMPERSONAL AND UNAPPROACHABLE, WHO EXISTS BEYOND TIME AND PLACE

I can pray at any time, in any position, in any setting.

 

Prayer is an obligation that is prescribed for certain times and associated with specific rituals, behaviors, and purposes.

My prayers are an opening of my heart to  God.

 

 

Prayer is a recitation of holy text or prepared supplications of the prophets or holy men.

 

The privilege of prayer is an act of grace where my Creator-Redeemer is relates to me, a sinner. 

 

Prayer earns God’s favor and contributes towards gaining His approval and the reward of paradise.

The confidence of my prayers rests on God’s faithfulness to His promises.

 

Promise-keeping is not a familiar concept, because we have no knowledge of divine decisions and He has made no commitments to me.

Prayer is a dialog between me and God.

 

God does not lower Himself to relate to engage with human beings.

Prayer places me in God’s presence.

 

To even assume I can enter God’s presence is extremely disrespectful.

I can expect with confidence that God always responds to my prayers with His presence, and that He will fulfill my requests according to what is best for me.

I can bring a prayer of request to God, even with deep desire, but I understand that it may not be acceptable to Him or receive His approval.

The confidence of my prayers rests on His faithfulness to His promises.

 

Promise-keeping is not a familiar concept, because I have no knowledge of divine decisions and He has made no commitments to me.

Surrender in prayer recognizes that God loves me and knows better what is for my best good.

Submission recognizes that God is much greater than I am, and I simply accept whatever happens.

I pray for God’s will to be done, but I trust Him to be able to doin response to my prayers what He could not do otherwise.  

All things take place under God's unknown sovereign will.  

 

 

 

How Then Do I Pray ?

When prayer is a daily, mandatory religious obligation that is thought to earn God’s favor, it serves a far different role than my prayer to a God who loves me and is invested in my daily, real needs.  

When I have been given the opportunity to pray with someone who prays differently than I do, I am honored to bring them into God’s presence,  even though that may be a new experience for them.

  • Be respectful.  The casual posture or conversational tone of voice that you may use in your personal prayer can appear highly disrespectful to others.  Take your listener into God's presence with a reverence that they recognize, even as you speak to God as Someone you know and trust.
  • Use Scripture.  The soaring passages of Psalms are powerful to recite as prayer; they speak of God both with awe and with personal knowledge.  Those familiar with religious recitation will understand the spiritual expression, even as God's Spirit accompanies His Word into their hearts.
  • Pray with humility.  Because some may view God as too holy to approach directly, the confidence you have in God's presence should be express with a genuine humility that acknowledges your great need and His great mercy.
  • Express your personal surrender. Acknowledging God's leading and your willingness to follow is an important spiritual concept to express when praying with those whose relationship to God is defined by submission. Even though your surrender to God is always within a trusting, loving relationship, every prayer can express complete openness to His will that will resonate with your listeners.